January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Free Month, but did you know kids ski free all winter long? Many resorts offer Passport Programs, which typically allow elementary-aged children to get on the slopes at nearly no charge (a small processing fee for registration applies). Prepare with this list of kids ski free programs in the 2016-2017 season.
At Vermont ski resorts, 5th grade applicants receive booklets with three free lift tickets at participating ski resorts, such as Smugglers' Notch and Stratton Mountain. They also receive one or three coupons for Nordic centers (amount depends on the resort). All children must be accompanied by a ticket- or pass-holding adult, and each adult can bring up to two Passport holders at one time. Passports are available with a $11 processing fee. To register, visit Ski Vermont.
Vermont Ski Hotel Pick: Stowe Mountain Lodge Stowe Mountain Lodge
In Maine, there's a program called WinterKids, with kids ski free offers for 5th, 6th and 7th graders after a $25 processing fee is paid. The program, valued at more than $3,000, provides each child with a one-day pass at participating resorts, which include popular Sugarloaf and Shawnee Peak. The pass not only includes skiing, but boarding, tubing and ice skating, too! To sign up, go to WinterKids.org.
Maine Ski Hotel Pick: Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel
For $35, 4th and 5th graders receive one free lift ticket to participating New Hampshire ski resorts. They'll also receive discounts on lessons and equipment, and parents and siblings get coupons for lift tickets and trail passes; deals vary by resort. To apply for a Snowsports Passport, go to SkiNH.com.
New Hampshire Ski Hotel Pick: Omni Mount Washington Resort Omni Mount Washington Resort
Both 3rd and 4th graders are eligible for the Passport Program in New York, where 32 ski resorts, including Hunter Mountain in the Catskills and Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, are participating. Booklets contain three kids ski free coupons per ski resort, as well as discounts for adults and future visits to the resorts; a $26 processing fee applies. For more information, visit ISKINY.com.
New York Ski Hotel Pick: Hope Lake Lodge & Conference Center Hope Lake Lodge & Conference Center
The Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association is allowing 4th and 5th graders to ski free at Camelback Ski Area, Blue Mountain Ski Resort, Jack Frost Mountain and 16 other resorts across the state. Snowpasses cost $30, and provide kids one full-day pass to each of the resorts. To sign up, go to SkiPA.com.
Pennsylvania Ski Hotel Pick: Camelback Lodge & Indoor Waterpark Camelback Lodge & Indoor Waterpark
For a $20 processing fee, 4th and 5th graders can ski free at 30 ski resorts in Michigan (three passes per resort), courtesy of the Cold Is Cool Ski & Ride Passport Program. Participating resorts include Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands. A paying adult must accompany the passport holder. Pick up an application at a Michigan Snowsports Industries Association ski shop, or apply online at GoSkiMichigan.com.
Michigan Ski Hotel Pick: Boyne Highlands Resort Boyne Highlands Resort
In Colorado, 5th graders get three kids ski free days at 20 participating resorts, including Copper Mountain and Steamboat. Plus, there's no processing fee. Sixth graders are also eligible for $125, which entitles them to FOUR free days at participating resorts. Register at Colorado Ski Country.
Colorado Ski Hotel Pick: Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Park Hyatt Beaver Creek
Utah has 15 ski resorts, and 5th and 6th grade kids ski free at all of them after a $35 processing fee is paid ($45 after Jan. 31, 2017). The pass includes three free passes per resort, as well as discounts on snowboard rentals, lessons, refreshments and more! Apply at Ski Utah.
Utah Ski Hotel Pick: Montage Deer Valley Resort Montage Deer Valley Resort
Note: Some passes take weeks to process, though expedited services are available for extra fees. Blackout dates and restrictions also apply.
More from Family Vacation Critic:
8 Ski & Snowboard Essentials for Families
10 Best Ski Resorts for Families in 2016/2017
10 Best Places to Be Snowed In
Written by Amanda Geronikos